What comes to mind when you think of Madison, WI? For most people who've never been here, I'm sure it would be cheese curds, cheese heads, giant foam cheese hats, Green Bay Packers. The college football nuts out there might think Badgers. Or most recently, probably protests and teachers unions.
I think State Street. Ethnic restaurants for miles and miles (at least it seems like miles and miles). Napalese. Tibetan. Ethiopian. Turkish. Afghani. Indian. Thai. Yum. Yum. Yum.
My first trip to Madison WI was last April (2010), for a conference for work. The conference itself was kind of a bust for me. I seemed to regularly pick the most uninteresting and uninspiring sessions to attend. But the food. Oh man, the food!
This year, I've so far been a lot luckier in my session choices (knock on wood) and am overall feeling like I'm getting more out of the conference because of it. But still, it's the food. Oh man, the food!
The day we arrived, we went to a Tibetan restaurant and I had Gingered Yak Meatballs (yes, that is meatballs made out of yak meat) along with steamed bread. Yesterday night we went to an Indian restaurant where we feasted on Murgh Saag, Fish Tikka Masala, Lamb Curry, and a Tandoori feast that included chicken, lamb, and shrimp. Plus garlic naan, onion naan, and basmatti rice. After dinner, we walked around campus, enjoying the views and sliding down a few banisters. Then, found ourselves at the University of Wisconsin-Madison student union where we had some delicious Babcock Dairy ice cream.
Superman and I both love ethnic food. And we used to love to go out to eat. But since Thing 1 and Thing 2 came along, we don't go out to eat even a fraction of what we used to. First and foremost because it is not financially prudent. (We have to be all grown up with the way we spend money now that we are parents.) Second, because it is harder to go out with the boys now more than ever. They can't be confined to high chairs anymore, yet they don't really have the patience for staying seated for more than about 10 minutes either. And finally, because we can just cook healthier at home. Since we started cooking only Weight Watcher meals about 2.5 years ago, Superman has lost 30 lbs, runs half marathons, and is now a crazy health nut. I, on the other hand, am yo-yo-ing the same 20 lbs and still can barely force myself to do my 30 min workout 3-5 times a week. But right now I'm on a down swing, so I'm trying to keep the momentum going! I really want to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight some day before I die.
Before my trip, I went to the grocery store and bought a bunch of fresh fruit and veggies to bring to the hotel, so that I'd have something to eat for breakfast and snack other than muffins and cookies. And I packed my workout clothes and tennis shoes so that I could hit the workout center in the mornings before my conference sessions. So far, I've eaten the fruit. In addition to the baked goods (they just look and smell so good, and they are FREE!). And I haven't gone to the workout center even once. I don't even know what floor it is on. But, I have strolled up and down State Street. And thanks to the generosity of my paycheck place, I get to enjoy (read: over indulge in) the food. Oh man, the food!
Update: For lunch today, I had a gyro. Then, for a late afternoon snack I enjoyed some more ice cream! Shhh! Don't tell Superman!
P.S. I loved the sign at the ice cream shop: